Christmas is a time for sharing and family, and for the lucky animals already in loving homes it's a great time full of treats, presents and nice warm naps. Or tearing down the Christmas tree. Either way, it's when families get together and enjoy themselves! However, for animals in rescue centres it's not quite the same.
Their Christmas Day doesn't have exactly the same feel to it. Sure, the staff are in as usual for lots of love and cuddles. They all get Christmas dinner and share the presents left under the tree by kind donaters, but it's just not the same as a family to call their own.
Before taking on a pet, always think about the long term care that animal will need. Do you have the time to walk, train and play with a dog? Do you have the patience to show a cat how to use a scratching post instead of your sofa? Do you have the energy to clean a rabbit out every day? It's important that you consider the costs too - cats, dogs and rabbits need yearly vaccinations. Cats and dogs need regular flea and worm treatments; rabbits need fly strike treatment in the summer; small animals need plenty of bedding when you clean them out. And think of the time you'll have this animal for. Dogs can live into their teens, and cats into their twenties! It's a big commitment, and you need to remember that an animal is for life and not just for Christmas.
Animals as presents are not a good idea, as they are living creatures with complex needs and they shouldn't be viewed as novelty items that can easily be discarded. Buying a pet as a present for somebody else can cause a sticky situation if they weren't expecting the responsibility of caring for and bringing up an animal. And if you have a busy Christmas planned, with lots of family and friends around, maybe consider adopting after the festive period, when many animals bought as gifts are abandoned or given up by their owners when they realise how much work is involved.
If you are thinking of adding a pet to your family, why not look at adopting? There are so many animals in need across the country, just waiting for that perfect person to give them a chance. If you can offer a loving home to a cat, dog or small pet (provided your Christmas isn't too busy or stressful of course!) then you could give the best gift of all to a rescue animal. If you have thought about adopting and feel that now is the right time, take a look at our adoption pages. All they want for Christmas (or maybe New Year...) is you!